Your home and car aren’t the only thing that need a Spring cleaning each year. Your WordPress website can also become cluttered with old draft pages, unused plugins and stale content.
Here’s a quick rundown that will help you get your site squeaky-clean.
1. Improve on-site SEO
The first thing you want to do is clean up your on-site SEO. The rules changed in January when Google launched a massive SEO algorithm update. Now we’re starting to see the effects play out in search ranking. That means you need to go back and adjust any on-site SEO issues that came from the update.
You don’t need encyclopedic knowledge of the update of SEO to do so. In most cases, you can run a simple SEO report on your website that will tell you how to improve your site’s overall SEO.
One of the tools, we recommend is the SEO report tool “Moz Pro” from Moz. It will comb through your website and find issues that need to be fixed, such as duplicate title tags on pages.
Once you have a report identifying the issues, you will need to make the necessary changes on your website. The tool we recommend to optimize your SEO, is Yoast SEO. Yoast will display visual cues on which content needs to be optimized and updated in order to stay relevant for your particular topics. You won’t have to guess at what characters to put in either – the tool will make live queries into Google to see what search terms people are actually using that you can tap into.
If this seems too complex for you to handle, find a web development company or a freelance web developer to implement the changes. It’ll make your life a lot easier than the risk of breaking your website.
2. Clean up your WordPress plugins
Look at every plugin on your site. Check your active plugins to make sure you are using the latest version and that the plugins have no known security issues. If you have plugins that you are not using, get rid of them.
Removing old, unused plugins protects you from potential security exploits. It also eliminates clutter on your end and saves you hard drive space for your website. Even though the users won’t notice the difference, you will when you work on your website.
3. Set up a Webmaster page
Google webmaster tools will run specific diagnostics such as site speed and crawling errors on your site to help determine any issues Google may find during the indexing process. Webmaster tools will also alert you to issues like the presence of duplicate titles or duplicate descriptions.
This is important because Google doesn’t like to see duplicate content and may lower your search rankings if it finds any.
You’ll also be alerted about any pages that have speed performance issues. Pages that take a long time to load will impact your bounce rate, which also affects SEO.
4. Sweep out draft pages.
Every WordPress site owner has a large collection of old drafts and extra pages taking up space in their database.
Every time you save a change on a page, it will save a draft copy. After a period of time, a site may have accumulated several thousand draft copies taking up space in the database.
We recommend deleting old drafts that are taking up unneeded space in your database. There is a great tool called WP Sweep, which will go in and delete those old drafts and improve performance, as well as optimize the database.
5. Update your content
Spend some time and look at what your content looks like and see if it’s outdated. You may have something that refers to 2015 as “next year” or focuses on concepts that have gone out of fashion. Make sure everything is timely and make sure all of the dates are current.
Also make sure your contact information is up to date: Including your address, phone number and emails are all correct and all work. Make sure the copyright at the bottom of your page is current.
You should also go through your Google Analytics and see which older content should be removed.
Old content that isn’t pulling in web hits can bog down your site, but more importantly, from Google’s perspective it can dilute your site’s content. After a purge, the content that remains is more concentrated and the new space can inspire you to create new, relevant, and exciting content for users.
If you’re really attached to a piece of old content that no one is viewing, consider repurposing it instead and expanding the scope of the content that may add a new spin. Change some of the wording around, repost it with a new title and new SEO, and put some real effort into promoting it.
Improving site Search Engine friendliness, SEO and rankings is a never ending task.
Take some time to tune-up your website by updating your SEO or SEO widget, cleaning up outdated or unused plugins, setting up and scanning your webmaster tools, cleaning out old draft and unused pages and updating your content.